OK – so I finally got a chance to sit down a write up a trip report to let you all know my trip to Athens, Greece was GREAT!!! We were there February 11th-18th and we could not have asked for more perfect weather. Was nice everyday and we never even wore a coat! 55-65 most days (for us this is pretty warm being from Michigan…seemed like a lot of other were in coats…but we were good in a long sleeve shirt and some days I was putting on short sleeves).
I want to thank all the tripadvisor helpers out there that answered my endless questions….but it really paid off. I didn’t feel like I got lost at all, and was able to hit the ground running and knew what I was doing (at least somewhat) most of the time. I also want to preface this by saying….please don’t fault me for my spelling on some of these names/locations!!! Greek is very hard! LOL!
Here is a brief overview of our hotels:
Stayed 6 nights at the Amazon Hotel, and 2 nights at the Airotel Parthenon – I wrote extensive reviews of both these hotels you can read separately in their proper section, but to sum it up…I would stay at either of these hotels again.
Highlights of what we were able to accomplish on our trip are (many of these thanks to specific recommendations from fellow tripadvisor writers):
We did the Acropolis, Parthenon, New Acropolis Museum (Airotel Parthenon Hotel right by these), Agora & Tower of the Winds (went to both Greek & Roman Forums…there were two separated by a short distance), Tomb of the Unknown Soldier including the Ceremonial Changing of the Guard, Plaka, Fillopoppos Hill including Prison of Socrates (AWESOME views of the Acropolis from the top of this hill!), Lykavittos Hill, Also great views of the city and a nice church and restaurant (had a great salad/sandwich lunch in the restaurant taking in the tremendous views out the floor to ceiling windows right by our table), National Archeology Museum, Beneki Museum, Hadryan’s Library, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Monastiraki Area, the Sunday Flea Market (actually showed up there by mistake during that day…..WOWWEE, BUSY!), Kerameikos, 10 or so of the major churches (including all the biggies), including an inside visit and couple candle lightings, War Museum, National Gardens (only caught one corner of this), Syntagma Square (Amazon Hotel right by this), Shopped Ermou Street at least three times.
Outside the City we went to Delphi one day and stopped in the village…can’t remember the name…in the mountains by Delphi. Also did an afternoon outside the city to Cape Sounion, Also did a day trip that included Argolis, Corinth, Corinth Canal, Ancient Corinth Mycenae, Naflpio, Epidavros,
During this trip we used pretty much all the forms of transportation, tour buses, private driver/car, metro….and found them all to be really easy with a little bit of preparing before hand. We ate at some great places….and some not so good places. I found that we could get a pretty good meal for the two of us for about 27 Euros or so total – I found that the couple restaurants we ate in that we paid more than this (like 40-50 Euros, the food was awful…so stay with the cheaper to mid priced places). And we even found ourselves in McDonald’s and Everest (mmmmm…cheese pie) a few times for quick bites to eat. Even ended up at the Hard Rock Café for dinner on Valentines Day!
I had Suvlaki a couple times and it was good every time, had pork chops grilled that were really good, Saganaki was great the first time I had it…the other time we tried it…not so good. Word of warning…husband ordered meatballs and a hamburger at two different places…and both were more like mini little meat loafs…tasty, but not what we think of as hamburger or meatballs. I can saw that out of all the places I have traveled I struggled in Greece the most with food…seemed like it was either really good or not good at all and we had about a 50/50 record (I actually sent food back at least 3 times because I just couldn’t eat it).
I would recommend ANY and all of the things we did…I really felt like we got to see so much in our 7 ½ days in Greece…and all of it was worth the time and money spent. Would HIGHLY recommend buying the multi-ticket you can get for 12 Euros….It gets you into the Acropolis and many of these other places all for one price…and is good for use over several days time. Would not recommend buying multi-day passes for the metro….we actually only used it like five single trips times to cover all that we saw…everything is pretty much on foot – and with all the strikes you just never know if you are even going to be able to use it.. Would recommend the metro from the airport to the city center…was REALLY easy and cheap at only like 16 Euros for two people….Also the taxi isn’t bad (we did this for our trip in the morning back to the airport just to save some time), set 35 Euro rate applied – I just specified this up front with the driver before we got in (so he knew, that I knew…and didn’t try to charge more). Would recommend to shop around a bit in different areas before buying items…things can vary in price by 50% or more…so save your souvenir buying for the last couple days after you have seen things a few times in a few different places. This can really save you some dough.
YES there are protests!!! We saw 2 ourselves…just use some common sense…never felt unsafe…just made sure to keep our money in a safety pouch in our shirt and pay attention to what was around us and not be somewhere that didn’t “feel” right. We were on the streets on foot all day and in the evening and I never had a bad experience. Looking like you know what you are doing, don’t flash cash or expensive items around, and keep a hand on your wallet at all times or put it where it can’t easily be gotten too…..and it’s all pretty good from there.
Hope this helps someone else going soon! PS: Be prepared…I SWEAR everything in Greece is uphill…BOTH WAYS!!! LOL! Great for buns of steel after a week’s walking! Enjoy!